Upgraded the sound system and did some other mods while I had the interior out:
*Installed Alpine CDE-143BT head unit, along with an Alpine KTP-445A Power Pack amp. Wired it in directly to the stock harness via adapter which Crutchfield threw in. Mounted amp behind speedo/tach, using industrial type plastic “Velcro style” tape—-not the type with the fabric fuzz). Note: KTP-445A amp install instructions say the circuit should be protected with a 15 amp fuse. Stock harness has 7.5 amp fuse. After going back and forth and getting some great advice from folks on the forum, I elected to NOT change the stock fuse. System works fine using the 7.5 amp fuse.
* Installed Kenwood KSC-SW11 powered sub. Wired the power direct from battery and ground wire to seat rail bolt. Ran the remote turn on wire and RCA cables up the center console, and aluminum tunnel and split loom to head unit. I didn’t need to fully disassemble the center console (e-brake lever, shift boot, etc.). Just lifted it up enough to secure the wires, running them alongside the brackets, away from shift linkage, etc. The sub isn’t something used for thumping the hard bass rap tunes (yuck) but does a great job of filling in the bass, giving a great sound experience. Plenty of bass and volume. I kept the wired remote controller in the rear....drilled a small hole in the bottom of the (so called) “cup holder” in the back, inserting the plug through the hole to the amp. Coiled up all the excess wire, tie-wrapped it and secured it under the cup holder/console trim. Just enough wire available to pull the remote out of the cup holder, allow for changes, and stick back in the cup holder.
* While I had the center console taken up, I replaced the Euro-style power outlet with USA type that I purchased from amazon. I used wire cutters to cut the oem plug into two halves, and then plugged each into the appropriate +/- terminals of new outlet. New outlet was essentially a direct replacement...just needed to use a round file to open up the hole ever so slightly, allowing outlet to slide in from front, held in place by threads/nut from the back side. Looks great and outlet has a built in cover. Here’s the one I used:
* Added a separate power outlet up front, to the left of the steering wheel and in the small opening to the right of the starter/light switch panel. The outlet I found on Amazon has a built-in upper bracket that allowed me to secure it using sheet metal screws...yes, I bit the bullet and drilled small holes into the upper side of the aluminum, but you’d never see them unless you were on the floor looking upward. Wired through the steering wheel opening after using a small round file to notch the (hidden) plastic to provide a channel for the wire to sit in...probably not required but I wanted it well away from any steering linkage. Grounded it to steering mount bolt and ran power to one of the pax foot well fuses...can’t remember which but it’s a “switched fuse” so the radar detector is depowered when ignition is off. Used an add-a circuit fuse holder and appropriate guage wire for the circuit. Radar detector is mounted low on the center of the windshield and power cable gently wraps under steering column and into the power outlet. Looks nice and tidy, as well as relatively discreet. Here’s the outlet I used:
* upgraded the front speakers from 4” to 5.25”. Used Focal RCX-130 coax speakers. This was the hardest and most maddening part of this project. I used Jim’s speaker rings (JCR Fabrication). These are great! The worst part was cutting out the excess dash foam material, only to find that the speakers wouldn’t sit down flush on the dash. I knew from this forum that some have had to heat the AC ducting to melt it enough to allow pushing the speaker down, effectively “deforming” the ducts enough to allow for a flush install. Yup, I had to do that. With moderate heating and no luck, I had to crank up my heat gun enough to get the plastic to really melt....imagine seeing smoke billowing out from all the AC ducts.....[IMG class=inlineimg]/forums/images/LotusTalk_2015/smilies/tango_face_surprise.png[/IMG] This was not a good feeling!! It worked but it was nerve-wracking. If I had it to do again, I’d search for shallow speakers or stick with the stock size. Having said that, they sound great!
* upgraded the rear speakers to 6.50”. Used Focal RCX-165 coax speakers. Easiest for me to fully remove the rear panel, measure and cut the openings, and then reinstall the rear panel, then speakers. This was relatively easy.
* Added 20” of wire to the cobra alarm antenna, extending the range for the alarm FOB from next to the car (literally right next to it) to about 60 feet. Instructions found on this forum, all very helpful! (Didn’t even slice my hand open)
* Used rubber well nuts (8-32, .75” head diameter), 8-32 x 3/4” stainless screws, 1” dia stainless fender washers (painted flat black) to secure wheel liners, replacing the cheapo plastic retainers. Total required: 5 per side up front, and 6 each for the rears, 22 total. Many of the 8-32 well nuts have smaller diameter head size. I highly recommend getting the larger head size, given the application. Found them on EBay, but then my True Value hardware store stocks them as well. $1.20 each.
* Replaced oem Horn with Stebel Naitilus Compact Horn. After reading the forum, I elected to play it safe and not use the stock horn wiring to drive the new horn which draws much more amperage. I ran wires from the stock horn wires up to the fuse block, and connected to the trigger side of the (included) Stebel relay. Then 10 ga wire from the fuse block (soldered on to the brown supply wire to the accessory fuse), and again from the relay to the horn. Grounded the horn to an open hole located in the upper shock mount. Fused by a 25 amp fuse. Horn is loud and worked fine....unless I sounded it with the engine running...then the engine would quit! [IMG class=inlineimg]/forums/images/LotusTalk_2015/smilies/tango_face_plain.png[/IMG] This is a known issue which happens on occasion with this horn, and some attributed it to interference from the wiring playing on engine controls, etc. After changing the wiring routing with no help, I referenced this forum again and found a couple posts where this problem was solved by replacing the Stebel relay with another. After a trip to Autozone and finding a horn relay rated at 40 amps, I swapped it out and the problem was gone! Whew! Looks like the cheap red relay supplied with the Stebel horn isn’t up to the task for some reason.
With all this work, much of it involving being upside down, in the shape of a pretzel, working as a contortionist to get this all done.....I’m now into week two of a very angry herniated disc, keeping me out of work for two weeks. [IMG class=inlineimg]/forums/images/LotusTalk_2015/smilies/tango_face_plain.png[/IMG] Oh well....love the car, and it’s going to be worth it!
Thanks to so many here who have provided so many great tips, photos, and advice. It gave me the confidence to go in feeling informed....and ammo to tackle some troubleshooting.